As we continue to examine scripture and commentaries on scripture, we are sharing links to references that you might like to engage alongside us.
While we’d love to share a comprehensive list of scriptural references that are relevant to the topic of female eldership, we don’t believe this is feasible. For example, in the book Two Views on Women in Ministry (see below), the scripture index includes hundreds of scriptural references across more than 50 books of the Bible. Fewer scriptural references are more commonly cited; we have shared these below. However, please remember that engaging this topic more completely will likely lead you to engage broadly in scripture.
Two Views on Women in Ministry
As an elder board, we are currently reading Two Views on Women in Ministry. This book is written by James R. Beck (Editor), Stanley N. Gundry (Series Editor), Linda L. Belleville (Contributor), Craig L. Blomberg (Contributor), Craig S. Keener (Contributor), and Thomas R. Schreiner (Contributor). It is, in our opinion, a thorough and exegetically robust book on the subject of women in leadership. The book is organized as a debate in written format. There are four contributors, 2 of whom hold a complementarian view and 2 of which hold an egalitarian view. Each contributor writes a thorough summary and defense of their position, citing the relevant biblical texts and the extra-biblical sources from which they draw their support. The other three authors then write a response to that contributor. This process is repeated to present four positions and three responses for each.
Interestingly, each of the four contributing authors was able to agree on the following statement: “We believe one can build a credible case within the bounds of orthodoxy and a commitment to inerrancy for either one of the two major views we address in this volume, although all of us view our own positions on the matter as stronger and more compelling.” To us, this speaks to a beautiful example of the concept of “charitable orthodoxy.”
A Complementarian Perspective
Matt Chandler is the lead pastor at Village Church, based in Flower Mound, Texas, and the executive director of the board of the Acts 29 Network. Matt preached a sermon to his church, explaining the basis of his church’s commitment to a position inconsistent with female eldership. We believe that Matt’s communication, while by definition imperfect, is clear, well-founded in scripture, and does a good job of outlining some of the basic tenets of this commonly held position.
Matt’s sermon can be found here: Matt Chandler Sermon on Female Leadership in the Church
An Egalitarian Perspective
Tyler Stanton is the lead pastor at Bridgetown Church, which is based in Portland, Oregon. Tyler held a midweek lecture, explaining to his church why and how the elder board arrived at a position consistent with female eldership. We believe that Tyler’s communication, while by definition imperfect, is clear, well-founded in scripture, and does a good job of outlining some of the basic tenets of this commonly held position.
Tyler’s lecture can be found here: Tyler Stanton Lecture on Female Eldership in the Church
An Invitation to the community of South Fellowship
As we continue to lean into the topic of gender and the role of eldership at South, we are committed to considering additional perspectives. If, after considering the references above, you are aware of additional references, apart from scripture, that could bring important additional perspectives, we hope you will consider sharing those materials. Please email Bill Wizeman, the chair of the elder board, at [email protected] to share additional references or to request a copy of the book Two Views on Women in Ministry.
In addition, members of the elder board would consider it a privilege to hear your thoughts on this topic and answer any questions about the process we are engaged in. If you are so moved, please feel free to contact the elders to schedule a time to get together (access each elder’s contact info via our Staff/Elders page).